Current Affairs Today – July 14 2017
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Suresh Prabhakar Prabhu inducts First DEMU Train with Solar powered Coaches into service of the Nation
On July 14, 2017, Indian Railways launched its first 1,600 HP solar powered Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU) train from Safdarjung station, New Delhi
i. The first DEMU Train with prototype solar based hotel load system has been manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai & fitted with solar panels by Indian Railway Organisation for Alternate Fuels (IROAF). Hotel Load refers to human occupancy aspects of a vehicle such as air conditioning and lighting, analogous to the features of a hotel.
ii. The train has a life span of 25 years and will have a capacity of 89 people per coach. The total cost of the train is Rs 13.54 crore
2-day Conference on Crowd Management concludes in Kerala
The two-day national conference on crowd management has successfully concluded at Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala on 14th of July 2017.
i .The conference was organised by the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and Kerala State Disaster Management Authority (KSDMA).
ii. It set up the stage for adoption of best practices and use of technology to reduce risks at mass gathering events across the country.
iii. The conference has brought to focus on varied issues relevant to efficient crowd management.
iv. The detailed discussions were held on issues pertaining to planning and interagency coordination, including the role of Police, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), Civil Defence and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs).
v. The discussions will aid the revision of NDMA Guidelines on ‘Managing Crowd at Events and Venues of Mass Gathering’ which was first issued in 2014.
Kerala GK Facts :
♦ National Park: Eravikulam NP, Periyar NP.
♦ Airports: Coachin International Airport Kannur International Airports
Centre, UP govt sign MoU for opening AIIMS in Gorakhpur
The Uttar Pradesh government has signed an MoU with the Centre for setting up of an AIIMS hospital in Gorakhpur on 14th of July 2017.
i. Adityanath said after establishment of AIIMS the people would get quality treatment there.
ii. It will help those living in eastern Uttar Pradesh to get health care services.
iii. The hospital will have 750 free beds and the project is set to cost Rs 1,750 crore.
iv. The OPD of the new AIIMS will start by September, 2018 and trauma centres will be established by 2020.
v. The foundation of the AIIMS at Gorakhpur was laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year.
vi. On the occasion, representatives of both the Centre and state government exchanged MoUs.
UP GK Facts
♦ Thermal Power Plant: Harduaganj Thermal Power Plant, Rosa Thermal Power Plant
♦ Heritage sites in UP: Fatehpur Sikri,Agra Fort
Union Government sets up new wing to provide Intelligence Inputs
The Union Government has set up a new wing Directorate General of Analytics and Risk Management (DGARM). It is formed to provide intelligence inputs taking action against tax evaders.
♦It will be under the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC).
♦ The data analytics and processing by DGRAM will provide the CBEC with the national and sub-national perspective for policy formulation.
i. The DGARM was set up on 1st July 2017.
ii. It will function as an apex body of CBEC for data analytics and risk management.
iii. It will report to the chairman of CBEC.
iv. The data analytics and processing coupled with intelligence inputs by DGRAM will provide the CBEC the national and sub-national perspective for policy formulation.
v. It will utilize internal and external data sources for detailed data mining as well as analysis to generate outputs for focused and targeted action by field formations and investigation wings of the CBEC.
Delhi Police to be equipped with ‘super cop belt’
Delhi will be the first state police who will get ‘super cop belt,’. It is a specially designed belt, widely used by Police in UK, USA, Russia and para-military forces like CRPF, CISF, NSG etc.
i. This belt will help cops to keep things like Gun, Mobile Pouch, Security Batten, Wireless Set Pouch & ammunition pouch.
ii. Currently, forces like CRPF, CISF, NSG, RAF etc are using it specially while patrolling in sensitive areas.
iii .Delhi will get 10,000 belts first then we will order further to equip all district officers.
iv. On 6th February 2014, MHA laid down the directives regarding the super cop belt.
v. According to the official statement MHA has said that these belts should have space to carry 9mm pistol and glock pistol.
India ranks 116 out of 157 nations on Sustainable Development Goals index
India has ranked 116 out of 157 nations on a global index that assesses the performance of countries towards achieving the ambitious sustainable development goals (SDGs). The SDG Index and Dashboards Report has been compiled by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) and the Bertelsmann Stiftung.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index – Top 5:
European Union and India establish an Investment Facilitation Mechanism
On July 14, 2017, European Union (EU) and India announced the establishment of an Investment Facilitation Mechanism (IFM) for EU Investments in India.
i. At 13th EU-India Summit held in Brussels in March 2016, India had expressed readiness to establish such a mechanism.
ii. The mechanism will allow for a close coordination between the European Union and the Government of India with an aim to promote and facilitate EU investment in India.
India has second highest number of adults planning to migrate – UN Report
According to a report titled ‘Measuring Global Migration Potential 2010-2015’ by International Organisation for Migration (UN Migration Agency), India has the second highest number of adults planning to migrate to other countries with the US and the UK among the most favoured destinations. The study is based on international survey data by the Gallup World Poll.
i. The most popular destination for those planning to migrate is the US followed by the UK, Saudi Arabia, France, Canada, Germany and South Africa.
ii. At 8 million people, India has the highest number of adults planning and preparing to migrate. Out of the 4.8 million people, 3.5 million people are planning and 1.3 million are preparing to migrate.
India contributes additional USD 1 mn to UN partnership fund
India has contributed an additional 1 million dollars to a UN partnership fund. It has launched to support sustainable development projects across the developing world.
i. India had made an initial contribution of a million dollars when the fund was created and the amount was allocated for the implementation of a project.
ii. It will focus on Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States.
iii. India-UN Development Partnership Fund plays an important role in funding South-South cooperation for effective development.
iv. It also contributes to meeting both national development goals and the commitments of Agenda 2030.
v. It will benefit seven Small Island Developing States in the South Pacific.
vi. The fund will support Southern-owned and led, demand-driven, and transformational sustainable development projects across the developing world.
vii. The first project under the fund was formulated by India and UNDP in consultation with the Governments of the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and the Kingdom of Tonga.
viii. It will increase flexibility to natural disasters in these seven Pacific island countries and contribute toward a Sustainable Development Goal of climate action.
ix. India has enlarged its support to sustainable development through the multilateral system by making a supplemental contribution of one million dollars to the fund.
BANKING & FINANCE
YES Bank gets $150 mn from OPIC to fund SME lending
YES Bank has got $150 million funding from US government and Wells Fargo to fund SME lending on 14th of July 2017.
i. This is the third round of funding between the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) US government development finance institution and Wells Fargo.
ii. Its main objective is to increase lending to small and medium enterprises in India.
iii. SMEs contribute about 45% of industrial output and employ 42 million people in the country.
iv. It is estimated that 3 million women owned businesses in India employ over 8 million people.
v. The $50 million of the financing would be used to expand support to women-owned businesses and another $50 million will be used for financing small and medium enterprises (SME) in low income states.
vi. OPIC’s facility will help YES Bank expand its SME lending capacity.
vii. It enable them to reach both women and entrepreneurs in low income states who have much to contribute to India’s economic growth.
viii. OPIC will provide $75 million in financing to YES Bank and up to $75 million as a syndicated financing from Wells Fargo Bank, a part of financial services provider Wells Fargo and Company.
Some More Facts:
♦ OPIC Acting President and CEO: DevJagadesan
♦ Yes Bank CEO: Rana Kapoor
NRIs’ foreign bank accounts under income tax lens
The income-tax authorities have added a new provision in the tax return form (ITR2) which will require all non-residents to disclose details of their bank accounts outside India.
i. They will have to share with the tax office the account numbers of their overseas bank accounts, name of the banks, countries where the bank offices are located as well as the Swift codes and International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN).
ii. Swift codes help in identifying banks and are used for cross-border wire transfer of funds between banks.
iii. IBAN is an extra number over and above the usual bank account numbers that come handy for making or receiving international payments.
iv. NRI taxpayers can successfully upload online tax return form by holding back information on foreign bank accounts.
v. An NRI would be obliged to provide all the bank accounts, and an assessing officer will have the right to ask any question therefrom which have a possible and potential tax claim in India.
vi. NRIs are subjected to tax claim only on income earned in India, some could take an alternative view on the new provision as it is not backed by a circular.
vii. It would mean, disclosure of bank account in India or outside for operative purpose like tax payments and processing refund
viii. NRIs can file tax return in India to cover their income from stocks, properties and fixed income instruments like bank deposits and bonds.
BMW opens R&D centre in China, largest outside Germany
BMW motors has opened a new research and development (R&D) centre in China, the largest outside of Germany.
i. The new R&D centre will cover an area of over 40,000 sq.metres.
ii. The centre will focus on new energy technology to establish a complete R&D and production chain in China.
iii. As per the Xinhua news agency it is located in Shenyang the capital of Liaoning province.
iv. It is an extension of the original one built in 2012, and is five times larger than the first-stage project.
v. China has become the largest single market for BMW automotive vehicles. Earlier in May, the BMW assembly plant in Shenyang’s Dadong district began operations.
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi
♦ President: Xi Jinping
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
IIT-Madras distinguished alumnus Subra Suresh named President of NTU Singapore
Professor Subra Suresh a distinguished alumnus of IIT Madras, has been chosen as the fourth President of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
i. Suresh will begin his presidency from 1st of January 2018 after retiring of current president, Prof. Andersson retires.
ii. Prof. Suresh received his Bachelor of Technology degree from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras.
iii. He was facilitated with the distinguished Alumnus Award by the Institute in 1997.
iv. In its QS World University Rankings this year, the Quacquarelli Symonds group placed NTU 11th in the world and the best in Asia.
v. He served as the ninth president of Carnegie Mellon University from 1st July, 2013 until June 30, 2017.
vi. He is also an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.
vii. Prof. Suresh was honoured with the Padma Shri Award in 2011 by then President of India, Pratibha Patil.
viii. He joined MIT in 1993 as the R.P. Simmons Professor of Materials Science and Engineering.
ix.He served as head of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering from 2000-2006.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Indian astronomers discover supercluster of galaxies, name it ‘Saraswati’
A team of Indian astronomers has discovered a large supercluster of galaxies which named as Saraswati. It is as big as 20 million billion suns.It has been said by Pune-based Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) on 13th of July 2017.
i. The supercluster was discovered by Shishir Sankhyayan, a PhD student at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune.
ii.According to IUCAA(Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics) it is one of the largest known structures in the neighbourhood of the universe, 4,000 million light-years away from Earth and roughly more than 10 billion years old.
iii .Its mass extends over the scale of 600 million light years.
iv. This “newly-discovered Saraswati super cluster” extends over a scale of 600 million light-years and may contain the mass equivalent of over 20 million billion suns.
v. A cluster could roughly have galaxies ranging from 1000 to 10,000 and a super cluster could have clusters ranging from 40 to 43.
vi. Their findings were published in the latest issue of The Astrophysical Journal, the premier research journal of the American Astronomical Society.
vii.This supercluster is clearly embedded in a large network of cosmic filaments traced by clusters and large voids.
♦ Superclusters are the largest coherent structures in the cosmic web.
♦ It consist of tens of thousands of galaxies.
♦They are a chain of galaxies and galaxy clusters, bound by gravity, often stretching to several hundred times the size of clusters of galaxies.
Ray Phiri: South Africa’s Graceland star dies
Ray Phiri, a South African jazz musician died on 12th of July 2017. He has died of cancer at age 70.
i. Phiri was a vocalist and guitarist known for his versatility in jazz fusion.
ii. He received many music awards in his home country South Africa.
iii. He has founded the band Stimela and became internationally known while performing on Paul Simon’s groundbreaking “Graceland” tour.
iv. Phiri contributed as a guitarist to Simon’s “Graceland” album in the 1980s.
About South Africa
♦ Capital: Capetown
♦ Currency: South African rand
♦ President: Jacob Zuma
Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo passes away
China’s Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo died on 13th of July 2017.He as 61 and was suffering from liver cancer .
i. Liu received Nobel Peace Prize in 2010.
ii. He is also known for his role in the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing.
iii. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison in December 2009 for “subversion”.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
President of India receives first copy of book “President’s Lady” (Pranaber Preyosi)
The President of India, ShriPranab Mukherjee received the first copy of the book “President’s Lady” (Pranaber Preyosi) on his wife Late Smt. Suvra Mukherjee on 13th of July.
i. The president has received the first copy of book from Vice President of India, Mohd. Hamid Ansari.
ii. It was released at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
iii. The author of the book is Sangeeta Ghosh and President said he was grateful to all those who have brought out the publication and author of the book.
iv. He said that Late Smt. Suvra Mukherjee was essentially a private person with a strong interest in music (particularly Tagore music) and paintings.She confined herself to music, painting and writing and she tried to take Tagore music to a non-Bengali audience.
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